I love to cook with beer. In my opinion, any recipe that calls for water, stock or broth can easily be replaced with beer. I love to steam rice and couscous in beer. It adds so much flavor.
Whenever I come across a spiced beer, fruit beer or specialty beer — the wheels in my little brain start turning and I think of ways that I can cook with it. Case and point — My new friend Dan Del Grande, brewer and owner of Bison Brewing Company, gave my some samples of his latest release — the Bison Brewing Co. GINGERBREAD ALE.
This beer screams Autumn. It is a refreshing take on an Autumnal spiced beer. During this season, the majority of craft brewers are either producing a pumpkin ale or a Marzen/Oktoberfest-style beer. Some brewers, such as Bison Brewing, are stepping outside of the box and brewing different styles for the season.
Bison GINGERBREAD ALE is a porter spiced with ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. The first pairing that came to mind was a nice hearty Roasted Butternut Squash soup. But pairing the beer with the soup was not compelling enough for The Wench. Oh no. So I decided to make my own very special Roasted Butternut Squash soup using Bison GINGERBREAD Ale as an ingredient.
And surprisingly, it worked. It worked very well.
- 2 bottles of Bison Brewing Gingerbread Ale (spiced porter)
- 2 (very large) Butternut Squash — peeled and diced
- 1 large yellow onion — peeled and roughly chopped
- 6 cloves of Garlic (I know this sounds like a lot, but half of them will be roasted) — peeled and roughly minced
- Raw Ginger — peeled and roughly minced
- 6 TBSP unsalted butter
- 4 TBSP 100% natural maple syrup
- Salt & cracked pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F
- Melt 6 ounces of the unsalted butter. In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash cubes with the melted butter. Add 2 TBPS 100% maple syrup and toss. Put butternut squash cubes onto 2 baking sheets. Sprinkle the cubes with salt, cinnamon and fresh cracked pepper (to taste preference).
- Roast butternut squash for 30 minutes — or until soft.
- In a large sauce pan, melt 2 TSPB butter on medium heat. Add minced raw garlic & raw ginger. Sautee for about a minute. Add the roughly chopped yellow onions. Sautee in the butter until golden brown.
- Add 4 cups of vegetable broth, 1/4 cups raw cane sugar & 1/4 cup of maple syrup. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat. Add salt, cinnamon and fresh cracked pepper. Allow mixture to simmer for 10 minutes (in order to allow the garlic and ginger to release more flavor into the broth). Add 2 bottles of Bison Brewing Gingerbread ALE. Bring to a boil.
- Add butternut squash to the pot.
- In small batches, blend the butternut squash mixture and pour into a different pot until the whole mix is blended. TASTE. At this point … Personally, I added 1/4 cup of maple syrup and lots of cracked black pepper as well as salt.
- Serve with Bison GINGERBREAD ALE (and fresh bread if desired). ENJOY!!!
Bison Brewing Company is one of the ONLY 100% USDA certified ORGANIC breweries in the United States. I recently discovered them when I moved to Northern California — as they are based out of Berkeley. I was lucky enough to cross paths with Dan Del Grande, head brewer and owner of Bison Brewing, on his way back from the brewery with the first batch of this year’s GINGERBREAD ALE.
THE WENCH’S TASTING NOTES:
BISON BREWING GINGERBREAD ALE
- DETAILS: Porter. 6% ABV. Organic malt, organic hops, water, yeast & organic spices.
- APPEARANCE: Cloudy, dark amber brown color. Frothy off-white head with tiny bubbles. Moderate lacing.
- AROMA: Dark malts, chocolate malts, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar.
- TASTE: Roasted dark malts, chocolate malts — very dry, spices are present but subdued.
- MOUTHFEEL: Medium-bodied, very dry w/ long lasting (dry) finish.
- OVERALL: This beer is extremely well balanced. Despite its dark color and rich appearance, it is not too heavy and easy to drink (almost too easy for its own good). Perfect for cool Autumn. I recently opened this beer for breakfast. It is awesome…
BIG THANKS TO DAN DEL GRANDE AND BISON BREWING!!! CHEERS!!!